Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar today challenged in the Islamabad High Court his indictment by an anti-corruption court for possessing assets beyond his known sources of income. Hearing the Panama Papers case, the accountability court had on September 27 indicted Dar, 67, but the minister had pleaded not guilty to all charges, terming them as baseless.
The anti-corruption watchdog National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had on September 8 filed a case against Dar for possessing assets beyond his known sources of income following the July 28 verdict of the Supreme Court. Dar, in his plea, requested the IHC to suspend the indictment proceedings as he was indicted by the court without getting the mandated time, Geo News reported.
The IHC adjourned the hearing of Dar’s plea until October 4.
The finance minister also requested the high court to order the anti-corruption court to suspend the trial until a decision on his petition, as he should be given time to file his response in the case. The apex court had earlier disqualified Nawaz Sharif as the prime minister and ordered corruption cases against him, his children Maryam, Husain and Hasan and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar.
During the hearing in the accountability court, Dar’s counsel requested the judge to grant seven days for perusing the reference against his client. But the judge denied his request, observing that the court has to complete the trial in six months as per the apex court’s directions.
Dar had also requested the court to exempt him from personal appearance, but the judge observed that they will conduct daily hearings in the case and also directed Dar to deposit a Rs 5 million surety bond to ensure his appearance at the hearings.